Once your treatment has ended, you can be a part of the breast cancer cause through research, community work or advocacy efforts. Getting involved can be personally rewarding and can impact the lives of others. Whether you enroll in a study, serve as an advisor or volunteer for an advocacy group, you can make a difference. Being involved in any of these efforts makes you a part of the progress being made in the fight against breast cancer.
Getting involved in research
Joining a clinical trial for survivors
There are many clinical trials available to breast cancer survivors. Some research studies look at the long-term effects of breast cancer treatment on recurrence and other health issues related to life after treatment. Others may study quality of life after treatment, the benefits of integrative and complementary therapies or the effect of lifestyle factors on breast cancer recurrence.
If you would like to join a study, talk to your health care provider. He/she may be able to help you find a clinical trial (or other type of research study). Susan G. Komen® in collaboration with BreastCancerTrials.org offers a custom matching service that can help you find a clinical trial that fits your health needs. Learn more about this program.
Learn more about clinical trials.
Serving as a reviewer or an advisor
Some organizations that fund and/or conduct research involve breast cancer survivors as advocates. As a research advocate, you may review proposals for research funding and work with researchers to design and implement research. The Komen Advocates in Science (AIS) program trains volunteers to be active in different types of research programs. It's an exciting opportunity for you to contribute to finding the cures! AIS members' unique perspectives are integrated into decisions at every step of the research process. For more information about AIS and to apply click here.
Serving as a member of an institutional review board
Breast cancer survivors are often included as members of institutional review boards (IRBs). These boards ensure that clinical studies adhere to federal guidelines related to research involving people. They also review informed consent materials.
Hospitals, academic centers, pharmaceutical companies and other groups that conduct clinical trials have IRBs. To see if an IRB is seeking community members, contact the research office of your local hospital, university or other agency funding breast cancer research.
Getting involved as an advisor or volunteer for a breast cancer program
Some organizations and government agencies have programs to benefit people living with cancer or serve the community at large. As a breast cancer survivor, you can get involved in these programs as an advisor for planning or oversight, or more directly as a volunteer.
Meet Rebecca West, a breast cancer survivor and patient navigator.
Komen Affiliate Network
With survivors and activists in more than 120 cities and communities across the globe and more than 100 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® events in the United States and internationally, Susan G. Komen® is the boldest community fueling the best science and making the biggest impact in the fight against breast cancer.
Thanks to survivors, volunteers and activists dedicated to the fight against breast cancer, the Komen Affiliate Network is the nation's largest private funder of community-based breast health education and breast cancer screening and treatment programs.
Up to 75 percent of the net income raised by each domestic Komen Affiliate is invested back into the community, funding local hospitals and community organizations which provide breast health education, breast cancer screening, patient navigation and emergency financial support for medically underserved women in the Affiliate's community. The remaining funds raised by the Affiliate (a minimum of 25 percent) support Komen’s national research grants, which fund groundbreaking breast cancer research, educational and scientific programs around the world. To get involved, contact your local Komen Affiliate.
Getting involved as an advocate
Being an advocate for breast cancer awareness and research funding is one of the best ways you can make a difference as a breast cancer survivor.
The federal government, through the National Institutes of Health, funds much of the breast cancer research in the United States. Letting your legislators know (with a simple phone call, letter or e-mail) you value breast cancer research is a good way to ensure funding for cancer research remains a priority.
Komen Advocacy Alliance (KAA)
The Susan G. Komen® Advocacy Alliance (KAA) -- the nonpartisan advocacy arm of Susan G. Komen – is a voice for the more than 2.6 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. and those who love them. KAA works every day to ensure that the fight against breast cancer is a priority among policymakers in Washington, D.C., and in state capitols across the country. With a grassroots network of more than 300,000 advocates, KAA empowers its community to help influence policy that:
- Ensures access to breast screening and treatment for all women
- Maintains breast cancer research as a national priority
- Accelerates the process for delivering scientific discoveries to those who need them, while still maintaining patient safety
Through the power of our grassroots network and in partnership with our allies, KAA has helped to:
- Preserve over $300 million in state and federal funding for breast cancer screening programs around the country last year alone
- Increase federal breast cancer research funding from $30 million to more than $970 million over the last 30 years
- Secure more equitable insurance coverage for oral chemotherapy
- Expand access to Medicaid-funded breast cancer treatment
- Strengthen insurance coverage for patient care received during clinical trials
While we have made important accomplishments in the fight to end breast cancer, there is still much to do and we can’t do it without your help. Please join our grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists committed to making a difference! Visit www.komenadvocacy.org to sign up and learn more.
A list of other breast cancer organizations that may have advocacy opportunities is available in the Resources section.
Other breast cancer organizations
Find a list of breast cancer organizations that may have volunteer opportunities for breast cancer survivors.
Federal health agencies as well as state and local health departments have opportunities for breast cancer survivors.
To find out how to get involved at the federal agency level, visit the National Cancer Institute.
To get involved on a local level, learn about programs in your community. Contact your local or state health department or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website (or call 1-888-842-6355) for a list of cancer programs in your state.
Other ways to get involved with Komen
These are just a few ideas. No matter how you choose to get involved, you will continue to make a difference in your own life and the lives of others. Not only can these activities be personally rewarding, but they can benefit many other people living with breast cancer and their families now and in the future. Everything you do makes a difference!